Andreas Lenk
27 March 2019
Michael Eppelmann

Navigating into the Future

All around the world, Boehringer Ingelheim employees work on creating value through innovation. Travelling with the sun, our “Star Storytellers” series features aspirational individuals from east to west who embody our values and bring them to life.


A guest feature by Katharina Mattes.

Andreas Lenk works as a lawyer at Boehringer Ingelheim. A professional field, which - as he says himself - many people rather associate with attributes such as humorless, fanciless and conservative. He sees himself as a navigator instead, someone who looks ahead into the future and finds a safe course. These are attributes, according to Andreas, which fit in well with the job as a lawyer.

Since his childhood, Andreas has travelled a lot and has experienced various countries, cultures and people as well as their different views of the world. This has shaped him permanently, making him open-minded for new things and creating a desire to discover and explore new things regarding his profession as well. Andreas could make this wish come true as his job as a lawyer at Boehringer Ingelheim is anything but conservative and boring. Andreas and six of his colleagues are the founding members of the first legal incubator team, a “legal innovation think tank”.


A year for changing the future

In 2016, the legal incubator was founded with the mandate to organize itself, reflect upon the future far beyond the previous limits and make preferably bold suggestions.

„At the beginning there were our ideas, crazy ideas, wild ideas, ideas that look ten to fifteen years ahead,” says Andreas. In addition, the team did not only want to be visionary but wanted to put concrete projects and ideas into practice already now. Consequently, the ideas had to be both sustainable and feasible and the legal incubator team only had one year for all of this.

It was crucial for the team consisting of six colleagues from different countries to grow together quickly and form a strong community. For this purpose, everyone had to become familiar with the varied working methods of the others and the team had to figure out how it worked best as a group. 

For Andreas, this work was perfect. The new and unknown things were exactly what excited him. “We were not only open for new ideas, but also searched them and dared them,” says Andreas in hindsight.


A strong community

At a certain point in time, Andreas and his team noticed that although the creative exchange was inspiring, creativity alone was not sufficient to turn the vision of the future legal department into reality. They also had to put theory into practice. Which is exactly what they did – with 13 ideas and project proposals in total. Moreover, the legal incubator sent a strong innovation impulse to the entire legal department, which can still be felt today.

Meanwhile, the legal incubator has grown up. First, it went on to the next stage in 2017, "the legal incubator 2.0”, which had an additional focus on the implementation of the project proposals and tested numerous initiatives in pilot projects, for instance the “swarming”. Now the legal incubator has developed even further and across the borders of Boehringer Ingelheim. Since this year, it continues its innovative work in a new format, the “Roundtable Innovation and Legal Tech” co-founded by Boehringer Ingelheim, where Andreas and his colleagues promote innovations for the legal department together with colleagues from other big companies.

The values and experiences Andreas gained in the legal incubator also help him in his daily work routine. The desire of all team members to be successful as a team shaped them all permanently. Andreas remembers: “It was a team full of positive energy and solidarity and this created trust. And we knew: No matter which challenges we would face, we would be able to meet them”.

And this is what reminds Andreas of his journeys: here as well as in the legal incubator, the new impressions, people and cultures have widened his horizon and made it possible for him to look at things from a different perspective., Andreas continues to consider himself as a navigator, who researches, explores, and thus can discover today the challenges and chances of tomorrow.

"Wir wussten: Egal vor welchen Herausforderungen wir stehen, wir würden sie meistern, sagt Andreas Lenk. "
Michael Eppelmann

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